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Rep. Markkanen calls on Education Committee to consider school safety plan | #schoolsaftey


Rep. Markkanen calls on Education Committee to consider school safety plan

State Rep. Greg Markkanen, a former teacher with over 35 years of experience, is calling for the House Education Committee to consider a bipartisan school safety package introduced last year. The 13-bill package stemmed from the Bipartisan School Safety Task Force formed by House Republicans after the Oxford High School shooting in 2021. Despite the urgent need for additional school safety resources, Democrat leadership has neglected to give the plan an initial hearing.

“I was in the classroom, teaching grade-school kids with learning disabilities,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Special education students are the kids who would benefit most from having access to resource officers engrained in their schools and communities. Resource officers are trained to pick up on small details or dangers that students with learning disabilities may not always be able to communicate effectively. Special education students also benefit from structured crisis response plans. These kids aren’t always the best at following instructions, so staff needs to be even more prepared to help them during dangerous situations. The school safety legislation would secure resources for schools so they can consider every detail in preparing for a crisis, including safeguarding some of our most vulnerable students.”

House Bills 4088-4100 would establish the School Safety and Mental Health Commission, expand and improve the OK2SAY system, dedicate funding to school resource officers, and improve responses to school safety crises.

“Democrats clamoring about process means nothing when they won’t engage with us legislatively,” said Markkanen, who serves on the House Education Committee. “I know there are former educators across the aisle. I’m sure they dealt with the same classroom distractions that I did. It appears they forgot about the remedies for those problems. If they truly recognize the need for school safety resources, I’d give them some of the same advice I gave some of my more distracted students – it’s time to turn off the phone, sit down at your desk, and get to work. We need a committee hearing so we can get these bills done.”

House Republican Education Committee members sent a letter Tuesday asking for their Democrat committee members to join them in calling for a committee hearing. Two Democrats would need to join the five Republican members to authorize a committee meeting without approval from the chair.

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